We were pleased to learn the Marinette Historic Preservation Commission spent a large portion of a recent meeting talking about the statue of Isaac Stephenson, which has graced its Riverside Avenue location for generations. The age-old tribute to one of the city’s most beloved citizens is in a deteriorating condition, particularly at the base of the statue.

According to Dr. Daniel Kallgren, commission chairman, the loose plaster and the base would be chipped out and coated with a mortar at a cost of $300. Kallgren said the information he received came from Todd LaPacz who serves as city forester. LaPlacz advised Kallgren a similar procedure was applied about 20 years ago.

Gloria Bjorklund, a member of the Library Foundation Board and a concerned citizen when it comes to preserving the historic markers on Riverside Avenue and on Stephenson Island, expressed her concerns about repairing the monuments. She suggested a more permanent repair for the Stephenson statue.

Jim LaMalfa, a professional photographer and a member of the Historic Preservation Commission, told his colleagues that he recently photographed the Civil War memorial on Stephenson Island and said he found similar problems with its base.

Bjorklund is concerned another “Band-Aid” will be used to repair the monuments.

In response, Kallgren said the commission’s hands are tied because the ultimate decision rests with the city. And he’s right.

The Isaac Stephenson memorial and the Civil War monument on Stephenson Island are city jewels. They represent a true meaning of what the City of Marinette is about. They represent the sweat and sacrifices of our forefathers dating to the Civil War and the Isaac Stephenson era and what he left behind for future generations. In addition to his many gifts to the city, Mr. Stephenson was the only person from this region who ever served as a U.S. senator. That by itself is not a mark to be taken lightly.

We applaud the Historic Preservation Commission for taking a hard look at the condition of our city’s physical treasures. We hope the commission takes an aggressive approach to do something about the problems. We also like the spunk demonstrated by Gloria Bjorklund and her fear of a Band-Aid fix.

We understand the city’s situation. It has a lot on its plate right now with the Menekaunee Harbor restoration project and the new Community REC Center, plus a slew of other projects in the making. However, leaving the Riverside Avenue and Stephenson Island memorials to continue to deteriorate will only make the matter worse.

May we suggest a local civic organization come forth to tackle the issue. Our city, in fact our entire area, is blessed with an army of volunteers and numerous civic organizations who have met similar challenges in the past. Hopefully, we can find one more group willing and able to do something about our precious monuments.

We don’t think it’s savvy business to keep building parks, monuments and other public facilities if they are not maintained over the years.